This dissertation is about a historically white university’s engagement with what is called the ‘coloured question.’ It explores how the University of Pretoria (UP) grappled with the question of where ‘coloureds’ belonged politically, socially and economically in apartheid South Africa – specifically through the disciplines of sociology and social work. In doing so, this institution produced knowledge that would shape and inform this racial category – not only through writing, teaching and curriculum development – but also by appropriating the segregated and local township of Eersterust as a site of disciplinary intervention, from the time of this coloured community’s creation during apartheid in 1962, to the post-apartheid and neoliberal present. In the post-apartheid period, these forms of knowledge have re-emerged through the university’s recently established mandate of community engagement, which was accompanied by a disciplinary shift away from the social sciences, towards the material discipline of architecture. The purpose of this dissertation is to demonstrate the various ways in which the disciplinary reason of the university informed, shaped and converged with the instrumental reason of the apartheid state to produce forms of racialized subjection, using the University of Pretoria’s appropriation of Eersterust as a particular example. In addition, the purpose is to problematize and historicize the persistence of apartheid’s racial categories – like the ‘coloured’ category – and forms of knowledge production in post-apartheid universities. This project’s purpose not only ties in with widespread calls to decolonize the university made through recent student protests in South Africa, but asks how we might begin to envision a university ‘after’ apartheid, by calling attention to a form of subjection that lies at the heart of apartheid’s racial premises: that of the ‘coloured’ subject and its instrumentalization in the practices of university disciplines
University of Minnesota Ph.D. dissertation.December 2018. Major: History. Advisor: Helena Pohlandt-McCormick. 1 computer file (PDF); vi, 263 pages.
The ‘Coloured Question’ and the University of Pretoria: Separate Development, Trusteeship and Self Reliance, 1933-2012.
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